As a whole bunch of you sent in, via a variety of different sources, apparently a maker of "Jayne hats" from the cult TV show Firefly
has received a cease & desist letter from the legal attack dogs at Fox
, just as an "authorized" version has shown up for sale on Thinkgeek and other sites.
People are not at all happy about this
Recently, though, Ripple Junction, a company that produces licensed apparel, obtained the rights to mass-produce the Jayne Hat. It instantly became a hit seller on popular nerd sites like ThinkGeek. It seemed that getting a Jayne hat was easier than ever. But that ease came with a price.
Firefly fans are coming out of the woodwork, and they are hopping mad. Why? Turns out in the last few weeks many of them have received cease-and-desist letters or have simply been banned from Etsy for producing DIY Jayne Hats. This communal endeavor, it seems, is coming to a close, and fans of the show are asking themselves why. Isn't the whole point of the Jayne hat that it be homemade? Doesn't it mean anything that the hats are often auctioned off at charity events? After 10 years of nothing, isn't it unfair for Fox to suddenly force lifelong fans to cease production of something they love?
The good folks over at ThinkGeek, who are known for being generally cool and with it -- and not at all prone to dickish legal behavior -- were quick to put out a statement about all of this
, noting that they had nothing to do with the cease and desist letters, and in fact, they're happy to compete with the homemade sellers.
We just wanted you to know that ThinkGeek has nothing to do with the C&D notices. The hat is licensed by a vendor with whom we have a relationship and while the hat is not an exclusive to ThinkGeek, we did have a hand in its development and answered the difficult questions like, "Are the earflaps long enough?" and "Is that man afraid of anything?" (Yes and no, respectively.)
Would the C&D have happened if we did not carry the hat on our site? We're not sure; we'll leave that question to sharper legal minds than ours. We're here to carry the shiniest of goods from 'round the 'verse, even maybe makin' them ourselves. We just want y'all to know that while we might not always aim to misbehave, we'll always be sure to get you the best stuff this side of the Eavesdown Docks.
The way we see it, if people want to make their own, shiny. For those out there who can't knit to save their gorram lives, we can help.
See? Now that's a reasonable attitude to take. But big media companies like Fox tend to employ lawyers who aren't known for their "reasonable takes" on things, no matter how much goodwill it might destroy among fans.